Gramophone Dreams #13: Audeze The King & Focal Elear Manufacturer's Comment

Manufacturer's Comment

Editor: Thanks to Stereophile for bringing the joy of headphone listening to its audience. We deeply appreciate Herb Reichert's review of the Audeze LCD-4 and The King headphone amplifier in the December issue, along with John Atkinson's Follow-Up measurements in this issue. Herb: "I can enthusiastically declare that Audeze's The King is one of the two or three best all-around headphone amps I have heard. . . . and by all audiophile measures, the LCD-4s must be rated Class A, superb, the state of the art."

Regarding the measurements, The King headphone amplifier tested (serial no. K3301003) was made in April, and our senior engineers visited Bascom King shortly afterward. The goal of our visit was to increase The King's gain and power with a resulting improvement in signal/noise ratio. The first thing we decided on was to change the grounding scheme, and that improved the SNR immediately. While the more powerful version of The King is not yet in production, the improved grounding scheme was implemented in all production amplifiers after our visit with Bascom.—Sankar Thiagasamudram, CEO Audeze

dalethorn's picture

I ordered the Elear from Todd the Vinyl Junkie. Nice friendly guy BTW. I wanted the Utopia, but at this point I decided I'd try the Elear first, on the premise that I'd be sharing my experience with at least a few people, whereas with the Utopia I figured I'd be all alone. If the Elear isn't convincing enough, I'll send it back for the Utopia, and that's what I'd like to read more of on the subject - i.e. people who bought the Elear and then decided they needed the better (or more neutral?) Utopia, and how that worked out for them.

Staxguy's picture

Um no. Not really.

What's wrong with the AKG 812 and Stax 009?

What's wrong with the Sennheiser 800?

lo fi's picture

I lurv cans and agree that they're going off like a cracker on Guy Fawkes night. Cans is where it's at in hi fi at the minute, and they are drawing a much needed younger demographic to it. That said, the rapidly escalating prices for each new flagship headphone release runs the risk of blocking their entry.

cgh's picture

I agree lo-fi. I own one of the first pairs of LCD-2 (driven by Auralic). I love them. Audeze pulled a VPI. Instead of thinking about their line they flooded the market with too many little ideas that didn't differentiate themselves, but they tried to differentiate greatly with price. Listening to my LCD-2s compared to LCD-4s and pondering that the differences cost $3000 doesn't make sense. The price should have a footnote that says "if we had only known in the beginning that we could have charged soooo much more". So much for economies of scale.

xtinct1's picture

I totally disagree. Headphones are unnatural compared to speakers. Simply put the image is always in your head unless you do binaural recordings. Headphones will never impact like speakers. The bass is always focused in your ears and thus there is no visceral impact on the body. Listening to speakers with your eyes closed and you can literally be fooled into thinking your transported into the environment of the performance. Although I respect headphones for their clarity as the music is focused directly to your ears; but even that is somewhat unnatural as there needs to be some sense of sound dissipation and reverberation as one would get in a live event. I am sorry for the rant but I am annoyed by so many comments stating headphones are a better way to listen to music. They simply aren't. And if you don't have the discipline to listen to music without being distracted, then you shouldn't spend your time and money on this hobby.

jasonmith's picture

These are very good when we stay on bed using organic bedding and listening song from this. It's so cool.